A lot of The Great Awokening is minor or would-be celebrities engaging in Crabs In a Bucket tantrums against their competitors whose careers are rising above theirs, in the hope that if they can pull them down, the authorities will assign them these better jobs that got canceled. For example, from the New York Times opinion page:
Many of my fellow comics are worrying about freedom of speech. I’m laughing.
By Maeve Higgins, Contributing Opinion Writer, Sept. 17, 2019
The only time I’ve taken notice of Maeve Higgins before was over her fifth-grade-style essay in the NYT on why that awful Stephen Miller boy has cooties and how Maeve just can’t stop thinking about him.
I’ve been doing standup comedy for 14 years, and at some point, I came to despise it. It made me feel bad about myself, mostly. The thing I find hardest is the bullying nature, the punching down. I’ve heard comics onstage mock women and gay people and black people in a variety of ways that still manage to say nothing new. …
A comic named Shane Gillis was hired by “Saturday Night Live,” then fired shortly afterward when footage circulated of him being racist on his podcast, calling Chinese people a racial slur, and when Variety reported that he’d also made anti-gay comments and stereotyped Muslims on his show.
That’s just a slice of classic standup, nothing strange or startling to any of us who are used to being the butt of jokes. The fact that he was fired, the fact that perhaps people are sick of hearing that particular shtick — that’s the interesting part.
Many of my comedy colleagues are up in arms, at least digitally. They are calling Mr. Gillis’s firing “cancel culture” and worrying about what it means for freedom of speech. I’m laughing.
These anxious comedians are worrying about the wrong problem. Here’s where the real silencing happens in the comedy world: So many would-be comics — women, people of color, other marginalized groups — are silenced from the beginnings of their careers. Despite their talent and work ethic, they leave the industry and take their brilliance elsewhere, or perhaps nowhere. Reaching a level in their career where they could even get canceled remains a dream for most.
Comedy, like so many of our cultural institutions, remains dominated by men, usually straight and white men. …
My relationship with standup comedy has improved, especially since it started working on itself and trying to be a better partner. I don’t fully trust it not to revert to being a bully, but when it’s good, it’s amazing. I’m glad I hung on.
I host a show every Monday in Brooklyn with two of my friends.
Everybody knows that Monday night is the Big Night in comedy.
Our producer makes sure the lineup isn’t just straight white people, and that makes the show a lot better than most of the ones I’ve been part of for the past 14 years.
What we need are Comedy Quotas: HBO and Netflix should be obligated to make sure that 50% of their stand-up specials are women, such as, to take a random example, Maeve Higgins.
Follow the money. It’s not really all that more complicated than that.
Update: iSteve commenter Tipsy adds:
Comedienne’s Corollary to Sailer’s Law
The most snarky articles by comediennes tend to be demands that norms of humor be overturned in order that, Come the Revolution, the comediennes will be considered funnier than comedians.
We need Comedy Commissars. You must laugh at Maeve Higgins’ jokes. Don’t you dare to be the first to stop until Maeve finally gets bored by your adulation and rings a buzzer.